By Ikenna Nwokedi
History was made on Saturday, 17th December 2022, as the Department of Political Science under the Faculty of Social Sciences held her 30th anniversary to mark the Departmental autonomy spanning from year 1992 to 2002 and first homecoming of her graduates.
The colourful event with the theme “Building the Alma Mater: Alumni Development in the University System” held at the ASUU NAU Secretariat Awka, saw the convergence of graduands and academic products of the Department, teaching and non-teaching staff as well as her undergraduate students all in attendance.
In his address, UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, stated that the Department of Political Science has come of age because of the 30 years anniversary which he described as a historic moment in her existence. Prof. Esimone who was represented by the Associate Provost (Humanities), College of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. E.C. Obidimma said the staff of the department have a lot to do in continuation of the ideas of their founding fathers especially for the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
Prof. Esimone opined that great institutions in advanced societies maintain their status because of the funding by their alumni. The scholar disclosed that alumni members should contribute to the growth of the department and institution at large by giving back to the system that made them what they are today. He also said that the present administration is poised in ensuring that the institution attain the height of the number one in the country, top 10 in Africa and among the top 200 in the globe.
Chairman of the occasion and CEO Chiman Investment Ltd, Chief Edwin Ndochi in his opening address captioned: ‘A page in history’, saluted all who found time, materials and resources to honour the occasion. Chief Ndochi said his choice of caption was based on inspirations drawn from the words of great philosophers, writers and leaders such as Paul Meller, Karl Marx and Prof. Chinua Achebe.
He stated that the alumni are proud of the department and the school at large even as they expect in return the extension of the gestures as partners in progress and association in areas such as empowerment, award of jobs, academic honours and innovations that are bordered on human capital and infrastructural development of the department and the institution at large.
In his address, the Head, Department of Political Science, Prof. Jaja Nwanegbo informed that the current department of political science is a product of historical metamorphoses that started from 1985/86 academic session from the former Department of Social Sciences and the Department of Political Economy all in the then Anambra State University of Science and Technology (ASUTECH).
Prof Nwanegbo posited that the department assumed the status of a full-fledged department in 1992 with Sir P.N. Chikendu as the first Head of Department while the department on the 6th of January 2009 attained another milestone by producing the first PhD external defence that gave birth to two male twin Doctors of Political Science, Dr. Makodi Bierenu-Nnabugwu and Dr. Frank-Collins Okafor who are both Professors now.
According to him, the department recently applied to the College of Postgraduate Studies for expansion of her specialization areas in new fields of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution; Political Economy and Development Studies; and Security and Strategic Studies bringing the specialization to seven.
The scholar highlighted some of the needs and challenges of the department such as accommodation, modern teaching and learning equipment, revitalization of P.N. Chikendu library and the need for a functional vehicle. He urged the alumni to come back home for further studies and help in marketing the departmental gains to the world.
Delivering his lecture, the Guest Lecturer and Chairman/CEO United Nigeria Airlines, High Chief Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, emphasized the need for people interested in getting into politics to have some basic understanding of the discipline. Prof. Okonkwo described the late Dr. Michael Okpara, a medical doctor, as one of the finest political leaders and the best the southeast has ever produced.
The visiting Professor to the Department of Entrepreneurship stated that an institution’s alumni are among its most loyal supporters.
“The alumni are loyal supporters who help in fundraising initiatives, generate invaluable word-of-mouth marketing among their social and professional networks, contributing skill and experience to the University, as well as work as role models and mentors to current students.
“Alumni of any institution view themselves as its first line ambassadors, the institution stands to benefit immensely from maintaining the relationship by connecting them to the University through regular information on activities at the school with such positive relationship offering the school the opportunity to monitor their progress and tap into their expertise as they advance their career,” Okonkwo said.
The Director-General, Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign for Anambra State described alumni support as the major source of funding for universities around the world while disclosing that some of the world’s most prestigious universities with very wealthy and distinguished pool of alumni rely primarily on the large endowment approach.
The scholar challenged lecturers and university administrators to reflect the roles they may have played in the lives of their students in the past and present, he equally tasked the students to reflect on their own conduct and responsibility.
The CEO Dome Entertainment offered ideas on types of financial support by alumni to institutions to include large endowment, regular donations by rank and file alumni, business partnership, volunteerism and community service.
Prof Okonkwo also eulogized UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Esimone for his ingenious leadership which has helped UNIZIK afloat even in the face of daunting funding challenges.
Cutting of the 30th anniversary cake, sharing of experiences, responses by individuals and classes formed some of the high points of the occasion.
Present during the event is the former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih; Royal Father of the Day, HRH Igwe Igwe Johnson Mbanefo; Senator Dr. Uche Ekwunife ably represented by Dr. Decency Okafor; Former Rector, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Prof. Godwin Onu; Chairman, Awka Capital Territory Land Recovery Committee (ACTLRC) and Prof. Frank-Collins Okafor.
Others include, ASUU UNIZIK Chairperson, Comrade Steve Ufoaroh; a Member of APC Presidential Campaign Council and 2005 set of Political Science Department, Comrade Akweke Francis Okoye; Professors of the Department; other teaching and non-teaching staff, friends, well wishers and students of the Department of Political Science.